“THE MOST IMPORTANT DEBUT ALBUM OF ALL TIME.” – Cozmo (Mondo’s dog)
Mondo Cozmo | Plastic Soul | Rating: 8/11
The above pretty much negates the need for anyone else anywhere to write a subsequent review for this damned album. That’s right Billboard, Rolling Stone and Consequence of Sound, et al; shut it down, cease and desist because there is nothing that any of your hack writers can add to the conversation that could possibly outshine Cozmo’s canine lingual eloquence.
Hold, one: Didn’t Cozmo provide guest vocals on “Come With Me”? Yeah, he can’t be trusted; he’d probably say anything to drive up unit sales in order to feed his premium dog food habit. Carry on, Billboard. And Rolling Stone. You too, Consequence.
Mondo Cozmo aka Joshua Ostrander’s storied music industry ride has left its share of scars on the guy, but it has also laid the foundation for a no guts, no glory/swing for the goddamned fences earnest honesty that cannot be taught, bought or fucked with. It’s there in how tightly the melody and message of the already classic anthem “Shine” squeeze your heart until it hurts and it’s what you hear in his almost violent inhalations prior to his plea/demands of “Hold On To Me” and in the love being cherished at a timeless level on the already beloved “Plastic Soul.” Respect, David Bowie.
In the effort to assemble a full album, for 39 minutes Ostrander makes a series of stylistic leaps as the music cracks and scratches at you with retro rock flavor and lo-fi soul appeal only to turn around and gin you up like Fatboy Slim on acid. Not mad at it: it’s all a spirited, emotional ride on the roller coaster of life because hope and hopelessness may sing in the same key, but – man – do they dance to a totally different beat. Yes, it feels odd to jump the record off with the slow dance title track while closing with the everything-but-the-kitchen-sink, sonic flash mob “Chemical Dream.” As if he reverse-engineered the thing for effect: Sensibility would dictate flipping that script, but perhaps he intentionally chose not to as it seemed too logical. But do take note: that its intro evokes the chill of U2’s “Mothers of the Disappeared” is the first clue that “Thunder” is going somewhere incredibly special and is a song that may very well be where the real heart of Mondo Cozmo lies. It’s so constricted and swollen with a fully humanized passion that, for 3:43 minutes, Ostrander is the leader of his very own E Street Band. And whether a chemical dream or not, by wearing his vulnerability like armor and a weathered pair of Converse, Plastic Soul is Ostrander soaring in a highly realized form.
“Come on, love / Give me a sign / Cuz I’ve been waiting in the darkness for your everlasting light” – “Thunder”